What you need to know:
- Dr Monica Juma urged society to recognise gender equality as key to ensuring men and women contribute fully to “full economic and social participation”.
- She noted that women are under-represented in ICT jobs, top management and academic careers.
The government has been asked to develop a policy that ensures women are fully integrated in the digital space to bridge the digital gender divide.
Dr Monica Juma, who is the national security advisor in President William Ruto’s government, said gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but also a keystone of a prosperous, modern economy that provides sustainable and inclusive growth.
Speaking during an online forum organised by Karatina University to mark International Women’s Day, Dr Juma, in a speech titled Leveraging innovation and technology for the protection and empowerment of women, appealed to the government to come up with and share policies, actions and national practices that bridge the digital gender divide.
“Today the digital transformation provides new avenues for the economic empowerment of women and can contribute to greater gender equality. The Internet, digital platforms, mobile phones and digital financial services offer opportunities for all and can help bridge the divide by giving women the possibility to earn additional income, increase their employment opportunities, and access knowledge and general information. We need to seize this opportunity to foster greater gender equality in the labour market, boost economic growth and build a more inclusive, digital world.”
Dr Juma urged society to recognise gender equality as key to ensuring men and women contribute fully to “women’s full economic and social participation”, then set the ambitious goal of reducing the gender gap in labour market participation. She noted that women are under-represented in ICT jobs, top management and academic careers.
She asked the government to explore the factors that underpin the digital gender divide, bolster the evidence base for policymaking and provide directions that enable and support equitable participation of women in the digital economy.
Other speakers included Karatina University deputy vice chancellor Peninah Obutho, who concurred that more women should be involved in the digital space, noting that their inclusion in the digital economy would increase diversity and bring socioeconomic value.
They noted that innovation is at the core of digital transformation and is in the interest of countries to come up with activities that help policymakers take a comprehensive approach to promoting gender equality.